What is the best way to detoxify my body?

Ms. Ashley Koff, RD
Nutrition & Dietetics
When putting your cleansing or detox diet into action, do the following:

1. Sleep: Aim to get as much sleep as possible -- that includes naps but ideally means going to bed a little bit earlier than you normally do.

2. Eat regularly: Consume eating (or if doing liquids: drinking) occasions about every 3 hours. The goal of a cleanse is not to starve. It is okay to feel hungry but starving means the body will go into a shocked/storage/hibernation mode which defeats the cleanse.

3. Consume nutrient balanced eating occasions: The idea is to have a carb + protein + healthy fat and unlimited vegetables at each eating occasion; here are some samples:
  • The ProHydrator: Coconut water + greens powder + hemp protein + healthy fat (flax, chia oils)
  • Quintessential Breakfast bowl: quinoa + greens + seeds + few berries or lemon juice and avocado
  • Organic applesauce with cinnamon + hemp seeds and oat bran
4. Regularity aids: Everyone is different but I often find it best to take the magnesium supplement at night, to consume fiber during the day, and to hydrate with teas like detox and ginger during the day as well as the coconut water.

5. Immune support: Take a probiotic on waking or consume coconut water kefir or cultured vegetables during the day and add mushrooms to your meals as well as taking a supplement either morning or night.

6. Liquid versus solid: There are different schools of thoughts on this but my advice is to do what's best for you. The benefits of a few days of liquids include digestive system getting some time off, as well as mentally separating from a reliance on food (what am I going to have, where am I going to go get it) as well as not going out to dinners which can mean you are home earlier and to bed earlier.

7. Medications and supplements: Before beginning any cleanse, if you are taking medications or supplements prescribed by a healthcare practitioner check-in with them so they can advise you how to adjust.

You don't need to. The notion that fasting cleanses actually “clean” the body is more of a marketing ploy than sound science. The human body naturally expels toxins via detoxification pathways in the gallbladder, liver, kidneys, digestive system, lungs and skin. The gastrointestinal tract contains 70% of the body’s immune response and one of its major roles is to remove waste from the body. Currently, there is little to no research that waste build-up or constipation (straining to pass hard stools) causes cancer, health issues or disease. That said, adding any of the following strategies to your lifestyle is easy, healthy and your best bet at "detoxifying" the body:

  • Minimize added sugars such as soda and sugar-sweetened beverages.
  • Eat a diet rich in fresh organic fruits and vegetables. These foods contain fiber, protective phytonutrients and vitamins and minerals.
  • Consume plant oils and unprocessed nuts for anti-inflammatory oils and minerals.
  • Eat adequate protein from high quality sources, fresh eggs, and vegetables. If you eat meat, choose sources that are humanely treated, free of hormones and antibiotics.
  • For individuals with allergies, choose foods and supplements that are free of common food allergens such as gluten (from grains) and casein (from dairy).
  • Eliminate stimulants, caffeine, alcohol, tobacco products, modified food ingredients, and chemicals and drink adequate amounts of clean water free of contaminants.  For pure water consider a reverse osmosis filter system or RO water which can be found at many natural grocery and health food stores.
  • Consume adequate fiber - 28 to 35 grams a day to promote proper bowel function.
  • Get enough restorative sleep (7.5 to 9hrs/night of sound sleep or stage 4 sleep is optimal).
  • Make an effort to intake specific nutrients that have been found to support proper detoxification function, including EGCG from green tea, glucosinolates from cruciferous vegetables, resveratrol from grapes and peanut skins, isoflavones from soybeans or fermented soy, and polyphenols and anthocyanidins from berries
  • Try hot lemon water with cayenne pepper before breakfast to stimulate the liver.
  • Add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in fresh water for the kidneys.
  • Exercise enough to sweat to help open the pores to release toxins through the skin.
  • Try body brushing and rebounding to stimulate lymph function for the immune system.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.